International Mobility Program: Authorization to work without a work permit – Public speakers

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Paragraph R186(j) includes both guest speakers for specific events (such as an academic speaker at a university or college function) and commercial speakers or seminar leaders provided the seminar to be given by the foreign speaker entering under this provision does not last longer than five days.

A seminar is defined as a small class at a university, etc. for discussion and research, or a short intensive course of study, or a conference of specialists. Commercial speakers are people who sell tickets or registrations to people who come to hear them speak on a particular topic.

Commercial speakers have a vested interest in the event at which they are speaking. Typically, they rent commercial space in a hotel, advertise, charge admission, deliver the event and then leave Canada. If they are doing this for no more than five days on one trip, they can enter under R186(j). This regulation covers situations where the speaker is speaking to multiple groups, as long as the duration of the speaking events is no more than five days, not counting travel time in the case of multiple engagements.

Not included in R186(j) are commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian entity to provide training services, or guest instructors of a particular sport coming to teach weekend seminars. Training activities are viewed as providing a service to Canadians, and therefore are considered an entry into the labour market. In these cases, other entry options must be explored including ESDC/SC Labour Market Impact Assessments or the NAFTA Professional category which allows for professionals to provide training services under some circumstances.

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